Sunday, December 26, 2004

Songs of the Season

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Here's what we were listening to (transformed using my playlist stylesheets:):

Christmas Favorites

Track Title Artist Album Genre
What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? Harry Connick, Jr. When My Heart Finds Christmas Holiday
White Christmas Bing Crosby Merry Christmas Holiday
I'll Be Home For Christmas (If Only In My Dreams) Bing Crosby Merry Christmas Holiday
Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town Bing Crosby Merry Christmas Holiday
It's Beginning To Look Like Christmas Bing Crosby Merry Christmas Holiday
Walking in a Winter Wonderland Holiday
Let it snow Holiday
Sleigh Ride Holiday
Deck The Halls Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Holiday
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Holiday
Faeries (From 'The Nutcracker') Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Extraordinaire Holiday
Do You Hear What I Hear Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Extraordinaire Holiday
O Tannenbaum Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Extraordinaire Holiday
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year Andy Williams The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Holiday
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts) Holiday
Have a Holly Jolly Christmas Holiday
Christmas Is Coming Vince Guaraldi Trio Peanuts Christmas Holiday
Linus & Lucy Vince Guaraldi Trio Peanuts Christmas Holiday
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/The Music Of Christmas Steven Curtis Chapman Music Of Christmas Holiday
Christmas Is All In The Heart Steven Curtis Chapman Music Of Christmas Holiday

See also:

Friday, December 24, 2004

Favorite Gifts from Christmas Past

Thanks to my friend Kirk for finding this link:

I don't remember some of those, but here are some I actually got for Christmas!

#97 Weebles Ranch
#93 Rubik's Cube
#92 Zoids! I had a huge brontosaurus, a swimming frog, and a dodo (bird that didn't fly)
#91 Electronic Kit
#81 Okay, my sister actually got the Merlin, but I played with it a lot.
#79 Who didn't have a ViewMaster?
#35 Spirograph!
#31 Run Yourself Ragged!
#20 One of my favorites! I still have my StarBird and the original box!
#7 My cousin Brandon had a grey BigTrak. I was always enthralled by it.

Such fond memories. My other favorites, not on the list:

  • the Millenium Falcon
  • Batcycle Big Wheel
  • CHiPs Big Wheel
  • TinkerToy
  • Legos
  • Emergency! Fireman's Hat
  • GI Joe/Cobra Rattler Jet and the Hiss Tank

Thanks Mom and Dad! I don't know how you managed it, but you sacrificed to give us things we wanted, even if we didn't need them.

Merry Christmas everyone!

See also:

Thursday, December 23, 2004

McNealy's Christmas Dream

Check out this absolutely hilarious article posted on The Register:

Along with Scott's wishes, I'd also like to wish Sun's customers, employees, partners and shareholders a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

See also:

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

'Twas five days before Christmas

I got this from Familyman Weekly yesterday. It cracked me up, so I had to share:

It was five days before Christmas, and the house was a disaster.
We tried to keep up, but the kids were just faster.
The tree was dried up, and the lights were burned out.
If it got any worse, I was going to shout.

With my wife in her pj’s, and I in my shorts,
We had fallen asleep with grumbles and snorts.
The children were tangled in covers and sheets
While Lego's and dress-up lay in great heaps.

When all of sudden, I heard a loud gurgle
I rolled out of bed as quick as a turtle.
I walked down the hallway and into his room
And I knew what was happening in spite of the gloom.

The stench in the room arose from his bed.
He was covered in vomit from toe to his head.
He heaved once or twice with cries in between;
In all of my life, this was as bad as I’d seen.

I pulled off his clothes as chunks fell on the floor
They tickled my feet and splattered the door.
I patted his back and said I love you;
He smiled but once and then started to spew.

Like lightning I grabbed a small pail by his bed;
His neck was all sweaty and his face was all red.
He coughed and sputtered until the last drop,
Then the last little chunk fell with a plop.

My wife who stood in the hall with a bag
Wanted to help but started to gag.
I shooed her away with a jerk of my head;
I was doing my job, she had nothing to dread.

In no time at all, I had mopped up the spew
And tucked him in bed with the bucket in view.
He smiled a tired smile, and I felt so in love
Like the very first Christmas he was a gift from above.

As I lay in my bed with the stench on my knees,
I was thankful to God for times just like these.
I was doing what fathers were created to do,
And I love being a spite of the spew.

See also:

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Episode III lego preview

Check out these new Star Wars legos!

From, Darth Vader with a light up lightsaber coming in February:

And from a Clone Walker coming in April:

Update:Another preview on rebelscum! Here's one of Darth Vader's Transformation.

Update:Another preview on rebelscum! Here's one of the Droid Trifighter.

Can't wait for Episode III and the accompanying Lego sets!

See also:

XInclude 1.0 now a W3C recommendation

The W3C made XInclude 1.0 a full recommendation yesterday!

Full details are available at:

XIncludes will make merging XML documents a reality. Here's a simple syntax example from the W3C site:

<?xml version='1.0'?>
<document xmlns:xi="">
  <p>120 Mz is adequate for an average home user.</p>
  <xi:include href="disclaimer.xml"/>

See also:

New Saxon release!

I made the switch to use Saxon exclusively for XSLT about 2 years ago. In that time, Michael Kay has made quite a few enhancements, including support for XSLT 2.0.

I kept running into memory problems with Xalan, and the had to use the endorsed standards override mechanism to get past the problems with the ancient version of Xalan that was bundled with Java.Saxon solved all of my problems.

I was fortunate enough to attend a full-day tutorial on XSLT 2.0 with Michael Kay at XML 2004, and will start creating my stylesheets with XSLT 2.0 and use Saxon to transform them.

Michael Kay has just released Saxon 8.2 (both commercial and open source versions) at:

This new version implements XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0, and XQuery 1.0. This version reflects the syntax of the XSLT 2.0 Working Draft of 6 November 2004 and the XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 Working Drafts of 27 October 2004.

Thanks for the early Christmas present, Dr. Kay!

See also:

Monday, December 20, 2004

NORAD's 50th Season Tracking Santa

My son happens to be one of my more faithful blog readers (Hi Connor!), and needed a letter to Santa sent Priority Mail last week.

You may or may not know, that the North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks Santa every year!

I was fortunate enough to tour NORAD back when I was an Air Force ROTC cadet, and can confirm that they track millions of objects in both air and space, including Santa.

Still skeptical? Check out their dedicated tracking site at:

Merry Christmas!

See also:


Congratulations to the San Diego Chargers, winners of the 2004 AFC West Division title!

From the Official San Diego Chargers site:

The Chargers clinched their first AFC West title since 1994 after the Denver Broncos’ 45-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday. Meanwhile, the Bolts beat the Cleveland Browns 21-0 in the snow at Cleveland Browns Stadium for their 11th win of the season.

I've lived in Colorado all of my life, but I've always liked the San Diego Chargers in football, the Los Angeles Dodgers in baseball, and the Los Angeles Lakers in basketball.

Mind you, I do like the Denver Broncos, the Colorado Rockies, and the Colorado Avalanche, but they have never topped my list.

We've only been to San Diego once, but we loved it! We went to Seaworld, Qualcomm Stadium, Seau's Restaurant, and most importantly, Legoland! We definitely need to go back.

Okay, the real reason I've always liked the Chargers: the lightning bolt on their helmets. Hey, I've always been a weather nut, what other reason do I need!?!

See also:

Happy (Belated) Birthday Handbook!

Got a little busy last week, but wanted to extend a very happy 4th birthday to the Sun System Handbook as of December 15!

Here are some highlights in Handbook history:

  • Initial internal & partner version release: 12/15/00
  • Initial customer version release date: 11/01/01
  • Lifetime page views (December 15, 2000 - November 30, 2004): 97,638,687 !!!

The Handbook should achieve 100 million lifetime page views by the end of December or very early in January 2005 !!

Congratulations to all of those who have worked on and been involved with this project during the last 4 years.

See also:

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Speaking of the Vizigator...

Looks like I posted my last article too soon! Ontopia released version 2.1 of the Ontopia Knowledge Suite (OKS) today.

I hope those of you who attended XML 2004 saw the Vizigator demo. It's incredibly powerful and easy to use. And here's a challenge to all of you RDF/OWL pundits: show me a tool like this for RDF that's as easy to use!

Here's a sample visualization of a topic map:

Topic Map

For those of you not at XML 2004, have no fear! You can download a free demo copy of the Omnigator 8 (which includes the Vizigator, as well as an RDF2TM plugin!) at:

As always, if you have no idea what topic maps are, please read Steve Pepper's excellent work: TAO of Topic Maps: Finding the Way in the Age of Infoglut

See also:

New TM4J Release!

Kal Ahmed and Christoph Fröhlich have released version 0.9.8 of the TM4J project from sourceforge (

If you've played with Ontopia's Omnigator and topic maps, the TM4J project is definitely worth trying. The tmnav visual representation of topic maps is really cool.

Steve Pepper gave me a demo of the "Vizigator" at XML 2004 that will be coming out from Ontopia soon, but the tmnav viewer has already been around for a year or so with similar functionality.

See also:

Monday, December 13, 2004

Lego Star Wars game review/release date

According to and, the Lego Star Wars game will be released in April 2005 for PlayStation2, Xbox, PC and GBA. The game is being developed by Traveller's Tales, and distributed by Eidos.

Reviews with screenshots can be found at:

I'm glad it's being released on multiple platforms, most importantly the PS2. My kids and I will have a blast playing in cooperative mode!

See also:

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

dbdoclet 0.62.0 released

Michael Fuchs posted the following announcement to the docbook-apps list:

The DocBook Doclet creates DocBook SGML or XML from Java source documentation or HTML files. It is helpful if you want to print reference handbooks of your API. Normally it is used with the Javadoc tool but it can also be used as a standalone application to convert HTML to DocBook. Additionally it comes with a Swing application to manage documentation projects and to transform the resulting DocBook files to PDF, Postscript, HTML and JavaHelp.


  • Generation of a XMI file, which can be used with Umbrello.
  • Improvement of the strict DocBook style flavour.
  • Support for DocBook 4.3 and 4.2
  • Sorting of fields and methods.
  • New synopsis section for public static methods.
  • Many minor fixes and improvements.

dbdoclet can be obtained at

I've used dbdoclet in the past on some documentation projects. It works very well. Check it out!

See also:

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

DocBook is safe!

If the article posted at: has any truth, I think DocBook is safe:

Norm Walsh

My wife won't let me grow a beard, so I guess I won't try to invent any programming languages... :-)

See also:

Monday, December 06, 2004

Happy Wx Hacking!

I posted on this subject several months ago, but it looks like Wired has picked up the story: Weather Data for the Masses

Unfortunately, I haven't had enough time to play with the web service, though I keep trying to find a way to make it a job task to learn web services. :-)

More information on the National Digital Forecast Database XML Web Service is available at:

More information on the Digital Weather Markup Language Specification is available at:

Happy Wx hacking!

See also:

So far behind...

Yikes! I've really dug myself a pretty deep hole for blog updates. With my week out for my grandad's funeral, the week at XML 2004, and the week at Thanksgiving, I've not been around enough to squeeze in my updates.

Here's a list of many DocBook updates I've not been able to announce at web speed:

  • New DocBook Stylesheets available! Version 1.67.2 fixes a table bug introduced in the 1.67.1 release. It's available from
  • Great DocBook Dinner at XML2004. Norm Walsh, Jirka Kosek, Mark Johnson, Derek Dees, Bob DuCharme, Eduardo Gutentag, (and I think I'm leaving someone out... Gary Cornelius?) met at the Lebanese Taverna for dinner. Great food and a great time had by all!
  • DocBook NG release: Gin. Just before the XML 2004 conference, Norm Walsh released the 7th DocBook NG release! Details at:
  • Firefox DocBook-Outliner extension. David Holroyd posted a quick extension to Firefox that provides a TOC-like navigation sidebar while viewing DocBook XML documents. Details available at:
  • DocBook DSSSL 1.79 released. Peter Eisentraut posted a number of bug fixes and updated translations as part of this release. Details available at:

I hope to be much more consistent with DocBook updates now that I'm home for a while... I'd will also post some of the more interesting findings from the XML 2004 conference. Stay tuned!

See also:

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I give thanks to God for the blessings of good family and friends, a good job to provide for my family, and the freedom and liberty protected in our wonderful United States of America.

Spending the last week in Washington, D.C. provided some great perspective and interesting experiences on why this is truly the greatest nation in the world. I am also very thankful that our democracy works, and that the people have spoken in support of our President George W. Bush. Many disagree, but they are a very vocal minority. The election this year had a record turnout, so I think the results truly indicate the voice of the people.

For a history of thanksgiving, take a look at Bill Petro's articles:

Happy Thanksgiving, and may God continue to bless America!

See also:

Congratulations: 2 new arrivals!

Congratulations to my best friend, Don and Heather Morgan, proud new parents of Cora Posey Morgan. Born on November 18, 2004 at 2:23 in the afternoon, Cora weighed 6 pounds, 6 1/2 ounces, was 18 1/4 inches long, and already has quite a head of hair! She arrived about a month earlier than expected, too.

Congratulations also goes out to my friend, Zarella Rendon, with the arrival of Ryan James Goatcher. Born November 19, 2004 at 12:21 pm, he weighed 8 lbs. 8 oz. and was 20 inches long! We missed Zarella at the XML 2004 conference, but I'm glad she had the baby at the hospital, instead of during a conference session!

See also:

Friday, November 12, 2004

XML as Artwork

As Frank Lloyd Wright said,

"Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art"

Hopefully my blog contains both. I'm exhibiting my blog design as an artwork piece at the XML 2004 conference in Washington, D.C. next week!

Samples from last year can be viewed at:

And for my caption card:

<TITLE>Scotty's Engineering Log</TITLE>
<ARTIST>Scott C. Hudson</ARTIST>
<COMMENTS>The blog covers a variety of topics, including: XML, Music,Weather/Storm Chasing, Sun System Handbook,DocBook, Astronomy/Space Program, Science Fiction, Legos and TopicMaps. Each topic entry is displayed as if wrapped in XML tags, using CSS styling.This piece is frequently updated as new entries are posted. Visit today at</COMMENTS>

See also:

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Frank Edwin Mason

Frank Edwin Mason It's been a week since I lost my "Papa", Frank Edwin Mason. He fought cancer for three years, and passed away Thursday, October 28, 2004 during emergency heart surgery. He was the last of my grandparents, and the one I was closest to. I miss him terribly.

He served our country in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and later inherited and ran the Mason Candy Company in Trinidad, Colorado.

More of his history, in his own words, can be read at:
He also wrote histories of my great grandfather Abe at: and my great, great grandfather, George, at:

I'll be posting more of his experiences in future posts. He always looked to help and encourage others. He touched the lives of many people, and will truly be missed.

See also:

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

DocBook Dinner at XML 2004

Norm Walsh has already extended this invite, but just in case any DocBook interested parties haven't read his blog (yeah, right), here are the details:

Hope to see you there!

See also:

Monday, October 25, 2004

Boogie Down!

I was listening to the radio in the car last night, and "Let's Groove Tonight" by Earth, Wind and Fire started playing.

I had to laugh, because a few years ago when my oldest son, Connor, was three or four, we heard the song, and after hearing the robotic "Boogie Down" line, he asked what it meant in the song.

I told him it was a kind of dancing, and he replied, "Daddy, I have a dance in my nose?!?"

That still cracks me up!

See also:

Friday, October 22, 2004

Generate documentation with dtddoc

I've just found another useful tool, for those dealing with schemas and documentation...

Lars Marius Garshol has had this tool out there since 2001, but I just ran across it trying to search for Content Model documentation.

dtddoc is a DTD documentation generator which can read a DTD and associated documentation written in XML and generate nicely formatted HTML documentation or, experimentally, DocBook RefEntry documentation.

It can create HTML, DocBook, and XML Topic Map (XTM) documentation, as well as read a DTD and generate a skeleton documentation file.

It's available at: Lars also has a cool list of XML tools available at:

From Lars' tools page, the following DTD documentation tools are listed:

DTD documenters

dtddocLars Marius GarsholPython
DTDDocStefan ChampaillerJava
DTDParseNorman WalshPerl
LiveDTDRobert StaytonPerl
perlSGMLEarl HoodPerl

UPDATE: There's an informative article on this subject at:

I would think there are similar tools for documenting XSD and RNG schemas. If you know of any, please send in your comments!

UPDATE: Kal Ahmed has produced some tools for RelaxNG documentation at: I've also found a for-$$ XSD/WSDL documenter at:

See also:

Thursday, October 21, 2004

New DocBook Candidate Releases!

I'm please to report two new Candidate Releases for DocBook today!

Norm Walsh has released Simplified DocBook 1.1 CR2 and DocBook 4.4 CR2 on

I've been doing a fair amount of testing and customization layers around Simplified DocBook 1.1. If you find any problems, please let Norm or I know.

For my customization layers, I've been using Tatu Saloranta's dtdflatten to create a flattened version, validating the DTD with Kohsuke Kawaguchi's msv (multischema validator), and then compiling it for use in Arbortext Epic (use the compile_doctype in the editor's command-line interface).

I'm also having fun trying to create my customization layer in Relax NG, based on the Simplified DocBookNG "Bourbon" release.

If schemas are making you work too hard, you need to be RelaxNG! :-)

See also:

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Congratulations, Dad! (Retired)

My dad officially retired from the USDA Farm Service Agency on October 3, but we held his retirement party this weekend at the Flying W Ranch.

Dad graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor's degree in Biology and became a school teacher at Trinidad High School.He commuted about 120 miles/day to Trinidad from our ranch in Trinchera, Colorado every day for 10 years!

Dad then moved to the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) later named the Farm Service Agency (FSA), where he has been the County Executive Director for El Paso, Park and Teller counties for 28 years.

The Flying W Ranch ( a perfect place for his retirement party. The entertainment was spectacular, and surprisingly, dad had never been there. We presented him with a Cowboy bronze sculpture by Remington, and about 40 people were in attendance. Some folks traveled all the way from Lubbock and Seattle to see him off.

I know I'm selfish when I say this, but I have the best dad in the world. He has always been there for me and my family. His Godly character is exemplified every day.

I love you, Dad!

See also:

Monday, October 18, 2004

Neo/J and Frangelico releases

Busy day today! Norm Walsh has announced the sixth release of DocBook NG, dubbed "Frangelico" (see, and Tim Bray has a post about the new NeoOffice/J patch 3 release (see

It's interesting to see that Norm has included XLink and extendedLink in this version. I hope to get some testing in on this one. I think it's also time for another run at Simplified DocBook NG, which is still at the "Bourbon" release. Wish Norm could hire me to do that!

NeoOffice/J is amazingly cool. I tried using the X11 version of OpenOffice on the Mac, but it was slow and painful. NeoOffice/J has all of the functionality, and is fast. Check it out!

See also:

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

More famous celebrities...

My friend and colleague, Tatu Saloranta has made the headlines, too!

Elliotte Rusty Harold posted the following on his blog today...

Tatu Saloranta has posted WoodStox 1.0, a free-as-in-speech (LGPL) non-validating XML processor written in Java that implements StAX API. "StAX specifies interface for standard J2ME 'pull-parsers' (as opposed to "push parser" like SAX API ones); at high-level StAX specifies 2 types (iterator and event based) readers and writers that used to access and output XML documents." WoodStox supports XML 1.0 and 1.1.

It's really great! I use it to flatten DTDs (expand all entities), and it's fast!

Way to go, Tatu!

See also:

Meeting Trading Spaces celebrities!

My wife and our friend Maureen were shopping at Michael's (hobby/decorating store) yesterday, when they ran into:

Edward Walker
and Hildi Santo-Tomas

Looks like Trading Spaces has come to Rock Creek!

While Vern and Frank are probably her favorite designers on the show, meeting celebrities like Hildi and Edward is still pretty cool.

If you've never seen the Trading Spaces show, you should check it out on TLC ( Personally, I just end up working on more home projects as a result...

Speaking of celebrities, my wife and I also met Stephen King on our honeymoon in Estes Park. They were filming The Shining for TV Mini-Series at the Stanley Hotel. It was just a random event, but still, a celebrity.

Another celebrity I've met was Douglas Adams, author of my favorite Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book series. He spoke at an engineering conference at Sun about 4 months before he passed away.

Also in the techno world, I've met Sir Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the internet, NOT Al Gore), Jon Bosak (inventor of XML), Tim Bray, Eve Maler, Norm Walsh (inventor of DocBook) and many more at the IDEAlliance XML conferences. You should probably just check out my LinkedIn profile...

See also:

Monday, October 11, 2004

Finding WOD on Greimblog

Okay, that was a pretty confusing title, but thanks for clicking anyways ;-)

Bravo, Greg! Just found his recent entry (, where he discusses Webs of Data and Topic Maps. It's an interesting read, and now maybe Greg will be able to start experimenting with XTMs.

BTW, Greg and Lars, I'm still working on my Star Wars Topic Map. Perhaps it will be easier, now that I've found TSaxon to process the pages I need. Stay tuned...

See also:

Would you like soup with that?

John Cowan has just published TagSoup 1.0 Release Candidate 1. What in the world is TagSoup, you say? It's a SAX-compliant parser written in Java that parses the stew of HTML out there. Not a simple broth, mind you, but a complex amalgamation of tags, often not well-formed that make up the web today.

How did we get this mess? All those sloppy browsers, namely Internet Exploder, er Explorer and Netscape, that allowed non well-formed markup to be displayed, when they should have returned error messages. It encouraged sloppy HTML coding for the masses, who are difficult to re-train. Even the tools developers got sloppy. Most HTML editors are just as bad as sloppy humans. Macromedia's Dreamweaver is generally the exception to that rule and puts out decent HTML, but even it slips at times.

What's the big deal with sloppy HTML? It DRIVES US XML GUYS CRAZY! STOP IT! Actually, it is painful and tedious to have to clean up someone else's HTML so you can reuse, harvest or do other interesting things with XSL.Thankfully XHTML is at least well-formed, but hasn't gained quite the traction that plain, sloppy HTML has.

You can find out more about the TagSoup parser at It's Open Source software, available under both GPL and AFL licenses.

John has also re-packaged Saxon 6.5.3 as TSaxon to include the TagSoup parser! Hopefully this can be upgraded to use Saxon 8.1.1 in the near future...

In an unrelated note, John has also done a very interesting presentation on RelaxNG called "RELAX NG: DTDs on Warp Drive" available at

Good work, John!

See also:

Monday, October 04, 2004

Godspeed, Mr. Cooper

On this record-setting day for commercial astronautics, we have also lost one of the Original Seven.

Leroy Gordon "Gordo" Cooper, Jr. passed away today at the age of 77.

Here's his spacesuit from Mercury 9, worn aboard the Faith 7 capsule, now located at the Astronaut Hall of Fame near Kennedy Space Center, Florida.I took this photo on our recent anniversary trip with my wife. If you take the Kennedy Space Center tour, it's worth the extra amount to include the Astronaut Hall of Fame. I loved the G-Force trainer, and all of the exhibits!

Gordon Cooper's Mercury spacesuit

Gordo had The Right Stuff. When asked who was the greatest fighter pilot he ever saw, Cooper answered, "You're looking at him!"

Godspeed, Mr. Cooper.

See also:

October Tornadoes!

Colorado can be a very unique place, especially when it comes to weather!

October thunderstorm over Greeley

Take a look at today's weather:

440 PM MDT MON OCT 4 2004





Details on the storm are at:

The NWS reported 11 tornadoes in Weld and Adams counties today!

This kind of weather always makes for beautiful sunsets, though too:

Sunset over Greeley

See also:

SpaceShipOne does it again

Fellow blogger Kirk has already documented this achievement, but I also would like to pass along my congratulations to the crew of SpaceShipOne on winning the X-Prize!

Full details available here:

Not to belittle this great achievement, but they should've required at least one Earth orbit at that altitude to claim the prize. The craft was also not built with a docking ring to verify that it could ferry someone up to the ISS or some other space station.

Now someone needs to take the $50 million America's Space Prize challenge to truly bring tourism to space! The new prize stipulates bringing seven into space, as opposed to three.

See also:

Friday, October 01, 2004

DocBook XSL Configurator

Steve Whitlatch posted to the docbook-apps list on OASIS about a new tool he has developed for DocBook XSL support!

Here's the announcement in it's entirety:

Several months back, I had some discussion on this list about creating a Java GUI that would allow users a mostly point-and-click interface to creating customization layers for use with the DocBook XSL stylesheets. Well, I wrote the application and here it is.

Announcing the first public release of DocBook XSL Configurator! Actualy two releases, one for version 1.65.1 of the DocBook XSL stylesheets and one for version 1.66.1.

They are available for download from Sourceforge:

DocBook XSL Configurator versions 0.5.2_1651 and version 0.5.3_1661 are alpha, since they have not been widely tested, but I know of no bugs and consider the software fully operational.

You can get a good idea of what DocBook XSL Configurator is and what it does from the following:

DocBook XSL Configurator
 DocBook XSL Configurator is a Java application used to create 
 DocBook XSL FO customization layers. The application presents 
 users with a tabbed pane containing several tables. Each row 
 in each table contains several cells, one of which is editable 
 and contains the text of the default setting for a specific 
 DocBook XSL FO parameter. Users create projects containing paths 
 to DocBook XML, common-customization XSL, an external XSLT 
 processor, etc. Users then click through the tables, select 
 DocBook XSL FO parameters they want to include in a customization 
 layer, edit those parameters, include the customization layer in a 
 project, write out the customization layer as an XSL file, and 
 apply the XSL to the project's XML using the project's specified 
 XSLT processor.

   DocBook XSL Configurator version 0.5.3_1661 is an alpha release.
 It supports version 1.66.1 of the DocBook XSL FO parameter set. 
 It does not yet support the DocBook XSL HTML parameter set.

 Default FO parameter settings, help text, and guidelines for 
 attribute sets ("property sets") are taken from the DocBook 
 XSL package's FO documentation. Attribute set defaults are 
 just guidelines. 

 DocBook XSL Configurator also includes a "From the Wild" table 
 that provides users with nifty little snippets of XSL intended 
 to help with formatting not implemented in the DocBook XSL FO 
 parameter set. Currently, the number of these snippets is very 
 small; however, the "From the Wild" snippet collection has the 
 potential to grow very large and be very helpful.

Target Audience
 If you are a beginner with DocBook XSL, DocBook XSL Configurator 
 can help you a great deal by bringing all the DocBook XSL FO 
 parameters together, with help, in a GUI. You don't have to switch 
 windows seeking help, and you don't have to manually type out the 
 file containing the XSL FO customization layer. 

 If you are an expert with DocBook XSL, this application may still 
 be of use to you. You may benefit from the speed with which you 
 can create and edit customization layers; you may find that DocBook 
 XSL Configurator projects help you organize documentation sets; or, 
 you may find the application useful for saving customization layers 
 and associating them with specific DocBook XML instances.

Requirements and Use
 DocBook XSL Configurator should work with any Java runtime 
 environment compatible with Sun's Java Virtual Machine version 
 1.4.2 or later. However, each version of DocBook XSL Configurator 
 needs a specific version of the DocBook XSL stylesheets. For 
 example, DocBook XSL Configurator version 0.5.3_1661 needs DocBook 
 XSL stylesheet version 1.66.1. Running a version of DocBook XSL 
 Configurator with a version of the DocBook XSL stylesheets for 
 which it was not intended could produce errors. 

 Running DocBook XSL Configurator requires no adjustments to your 
 CLASSPATH, and the DocBookXSLConfigurator.jar file can be placed 
 anywhere in the file system. 

 To use DocBook XSL Configurator, you first build a project. The 
 project contains information DocBook XSL Configurator uses to 
 help create a PDF or PS file from a valid DocBook XML file. The 
 process would go something like this:

 1) Select New Project from the File menu.
  A New Project dialog appears.

 2) Navigate through the dialog, providing the following:
  - the name of an XSLT processor
  - the entire option string to be passed to the xslt processor
  - location of the DocBook XSL stylesheet to use
  - location of a common-customization XSL file
  - an FO processor command string 
  - a PDF viewer command string
  - a PS viewer command string

    DocBook XSL Configurator uses the information provided to 
    run the programs in your tool chain as external subprocesses.

 3) Click through the tables, selecting check boxes for the 
    parameters you want included in your XSL customization layer, 
    and edit the parameter settings as necessary.

 4) Save the project. 

 5) Select parameters and edit them as you like. Then, select Write XSL from
           the Execute menu. 
  DocBook XSL Configurator presents you with a dialog. Choose 
  a name and a location for the file to save. This is your 
  XSL customization layer. Make certain that the filename 
  and path match with those used when you created the project.
  Keep the same name and path of this file when you update it. 
  Whenever you wish to change this customization layer, adjust 
  your selections and edited parameters in the GUI, and then 
  overwrite this file by selecting Write XSL from the 
  Execute menu.

 6) Select Process XML from the Execute menu. 
  DocBook XSL Configurator runs the XSLT processor specified 
  in your project using the options supplied. You should 
  probably make certain that your XML is actually a valid DocBook 
  XML instance first. While the XSLT processor is running, you 
  can continue with your work. When it's finished, DocBook XSL 
  Configurator presents a dialog box containing any messages 
  produced by the XSLT processor. The dialog box is presented 
  regardless of errors detected.

 7) Select Process FO from the Execute menu. 
  DocBook XSL Configurator executes the entire FO processor 
  command string from your project settings. While the FO 
  processor is running, you can continue with your work. It 
  typically takes several minutes to complete. When it's 
  finished, DocBook XSL Configurator presents a dialog box 
  containing any messages produced by the FO processor.
  The dialog box is presented regardless of errors detected.

 8) Select 'Display PDF' or 'Display PS' from the View menu.
  As with 'Process XML' and 'Process FO', DocBook XSL 
  Configurator runs the project's command string as an 
  external subprocess. When running the PDF or PS viewer 
  command strings, DocBook XSL Configurator presents a 
  dialog box containing messages returned from the subprocess 
  only if it detects something went wrong.

 Alone, DocBook XSL Configurator will work only partially. To make 
 full use of it, you need the following:

 - a valid DocBook XML instance. If you are new to DocBook XML, 
   you should begin with Norman Walsh and Leonard Muellner's book, 
   DocBook: The Definitive Guide, available online at:

 - the DocBook XML DTD package installed. You can download it from:

 - the DocBook XSL package installed. You can download it from:

 - some understanding of how the DocBook XSL package works with 
   DocBook XML. Bob Stayton's book, DocBook XSL: The Complete 
   Guide, available online at:, 
   is probably the best resources available for learning 
   DocBook XSL. 

 - an XSLT engine installed. DocBook XSL Configurator will work 
   with any XSLT engine. I use xsltproc, which is part of the 
   libxml2 package. You can download the libxml2 package from
   You can download precompiled libxml2 binaries for Windows at:

 - an FO processor installed

 - PDF and PostScript viewers installed

Nice work, Steve!

See also:

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Tiger and the Endorsed Standards Override Mechanism

As you are all aware by now, the "Tiger" release of Java, version 1.5.0, was officially released today! Get it from

What you may not be aware of, is the Endorsed Standards Override Mechanism. This feature was available in java 1.4, and was needed if you wanted to use a newer version of Xalan or Saxon than was bundled with the JDK.

After I installed Tiger today, I was working away happily, until I tried to transform some tech docs with Saxon 8. I soon questioned whether the endorsed override worked as before, or whether I'd have to find some new trick.

I'm happy to report, that the override is still there and worked just as soon as I dropped the newest jars in


More information on the Endorsed Standards Override Mechanism is available at:

See also:

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

UCS Y-Wing under the radar

Wow, this one snuck up on me. reported today that the UCS Y-Wing Starfighter is now available from the Lego Shop. I checked, and it's running $119 to preorder for Nov 2004 delivery.

I hadn't visited the trusty, and now I'm really sorry. They broke this story back on September 25. FBTB please set up an RSS feed! I'm hooked on Bloglines to get all my news now :-)

The UCS Snowspeeder is also a very cool model, but nothing tops building the UCS Star Destroyer!

See also:

Monday, September 27, 2004

Reviews: THX-1138, Sky Captain, and Battlefront

Last week was a very busy week for Sci-Fi and myself.

Amazon FINALLY shipped my Star Wars Trilogy on DVD, but it was 3 days late as far as I'm concerned. If I pre-ordered 3 months early, you'd think that would be plenty of time to figure out how to ship it to me THE DAY of public availability.

I got Star Wars Battlefront for PS2 the day it was available, and it is a great game. The depth of the plot isn't quite there like other SW titles, but the game play is fun and the Dolby Pro-Logic II sound is incredible. I've been working my way through the historical campaigns, so I've been on Naboo, Kashykk, Kamino, and am now on Rhen Var. I can't wait to try multiplayer. Check out the Dork Tower comics this week. They crack me up! Yeah, I'm a lot like Igor.

I went with a friend to the Denver Pavillions to catch THX-1138 in the theater. I hadn't seen it before. It's worth seeing once, but not worth $9 or buying the DVD, IMO. It had some decent sci-fi themes, which were interesting, but some heavy 70's surrealist scenes. The nudity wasn't gratuitous, and helped promote some of the storyline, but I think the R rating was justified.

By far, the best Sci-Fi of the week was "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow". Filmed completely in green screen, I was quite impressed with the classic Flash Gordon look and feel. In the credits, I counted at least 14 different special effects companies that worked on the film, including Industrial Light and Magic. The result is spectacular, and it's good, clean fun, too. I think I could actually take my kids to see this movie. I hope Hollywood takes notice, and produces more of this caliber of film. We don't need all the violence and sex that they've been churning out for so long, IMO.

One other sci-fi note. There is discussion of rating Star Wars Episode III as PG-13. This would be unfortunate, since I want to take my boys (6 and 3) to see it. I know it will be a darker film, since Anakin turns into Vader, but I'm still hoping it can be done in a PG format. We don't need excruciating detail of Anakin burning in lava, to know why he wears the life-support suit. Mr. Lucas, despite all of your critics, I think the story should still cater to the imaginations of the younger audiences. I liked Episode 1 and 2, and can show them to the boys without concerns of too much violence.

So in a nutshell: Go see Sky Captain, get Battlefront on your favorite platform, don't pre-order DVDs, and skip buying THX-1138.

See also:

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Star Wars Battlefront and the Trilogy

​ ​​​​Ahh, today is a good day for many a Star Wars fan. Not only is the original Trilogy (okay Special Edition) available for the first time ever on DVD, but the spectacular Star Wars Battlefront game is available to experience the movies yourself! Check out this cool article on the gaming experience:

I wasn't going to be allowed to get Battlefront until I conquered Disney's Kingdom Hearts on PS2, but thankfully I completed it this weekend! Kingdom Hearts is a terrific game, that I would highly recommend after it took me 60 hours to complete.

For a comical look at the controversial changes to the Star Wars Trilogy, check this out:

Also, reported some audio changes to the DVDs, and this quote from Lucasfilm:

We are always impressed with how closely fans listen to the many different sound mixes we have made for the Star Wars movies over the years. It is flattering to know that, indeed, the audience is listening. Consequently, each mix comes out differently and any changes that you hear on the all-new Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX tracks on the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set are deliberate creative decisions. We can confirm that there are no technical glitches as has been reported.

Unfortunately, says I won't get my Trilogy DVDs until 9/28, so I can't confirm any of the changes ;-). I will be going to get Battlefront today, though! I won't be able to play it tonight, because I'm going to the theater re-release of THX-1138, George Lucas' first film. Like SW Special Edition, this version of THX-1138 has a lot of computer enhancements.

See also:

Monday, September 20, 2004

DocBook XSL 1.66.1 released

​ ​​​​The latest release of the DocBook stylesheets has moved from the test release to production with version 1.66.1, available now from

An gracious member of the DocBook community also posted an RPM spec file at:

To quote from the mailing list...

If you're running Fedora Core or Red Hat, it's easy to use:
   # the two wget invocations should each be on a single line; I
   # apologize for any line wrapping
   cd /usr/src/redhat/SOURCES
   # download the source, e.g.,
   cd ../SPECS
   # grab my spec
   # build/install the package
   rpmbuild -bb docbook-style-xsl.spec
   rpm -Fvh ../RPMS/noarch/docbook-style-xsl-1.66.1-1.noarch.rpm

Fellow DocBook TC member Jirka Kosek also posted an older paper on the extensions used by DocBook stylesheets at:

See also:

Friday, September 17, 2004

Think Topic Maps

I looked a little deeper into musicplasma that fleers blogged on yesterday. Very cool site, that similar in some respects to the TMNav application of the TM4J project!

Turns out, musicplasma uses a product called ThinkMap, which based on J2EE. ThinkMap's whitepapers make no mention of whether they are using Topic Maps, RDF, OWL or some proprietary technology under the covers. They do have an XML configuration file that makes it very easy to use, combined with CSS styling for the presentation.

Very cool product. It would be nice to see some of the same visual presentation features in TMNav, or Ontopia's Omnigator.

Further digging revealed another product called The Brain, which also looks interesting, but unknown what it's based on under the covers.

Correction: Just got a comment from the musicplasma guys that they are NOT using ThinkMap engine, but have rolled their own. It was the Sony Music License engine, that used ThinkMap. Still, all of these visual representations certainly resemble Topic Maps. It would be nice if they could all adopt the Topic Map standard for interoperability, instead of going the proprietary route.

Update: Just heard from the ThinkMap folks, and they said, "Thinkmap does not use topic maps, but rather uses tables from a relational database (or practically any other data source, for that matter)." Ditto my comment above. Hopefully some of these companies will adopt some of the Semantic Web standards, to enable interoperability.

See also:

naDev tlhIngan Hol jatlhlu'! (Klingon spoken here.)

Interesting story on Reuter's Oddly Enough, about a German site that has added Klingon information! The site is at:

If you are a huge Trek geek like me, try taking up Klingon from these sites:

Or read Marc Okrand's most excellent book: The Klingon Dictionary

Amazingly enough, a search for Klingon on yields 864 resources!


See also:

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Storm Chasing with Supercomputers

Slashdot had a cool article on storm predictions with supercomputers today.

The actual article explaining this was on CNN, and can be found here: What I found interesting is that most of these models are written in Fortran! I wonder if it's Fortran 77 or Fortran 90? I learned Fortran 77 during my short tenure at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

One of the slashdot commenters explained:

Brief answer :
i) because most numerical weather codes are already written in Fortran. This means that people with the right scientific knowledge tend to be Fortran programmers, and makes porting a whole lot easier.
ii) Fortran compilers are the ones where the most work has gone into optimising the hardcore mathematical routines. Thus, the compiled code has traditionally been faster. This may no longer be true.

Current predictions can be found here:

The National Hurricane Center discussion of the models can be found here:

The Slashdot comments also provided an interesting link to a presentation on modeling tornadic supercell thunderstorms. It's in StarOffice/OpenOffice and can be found here (warning 20mb size, but worth it):

Pretty cool stuff. It'd be cool to see this stuff modeled on some of Sun's big iron (E25K anyone?) or a V60x Compute Grid with the Solaris(TM) 10 Operating System!

If you are interested in modeling weather and climate, you should also check out kpearson's site:

See also:

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Storm Chasing from Space

I'd give anything to be Astronaut Mike Fincke (Ham call sign: KE5AIT) right now.

Check out some of his amazing photos of Hurricane Frances and Ivan from the International Space Station at:

This one is particularly amazing:

Studying weather from space has got to be my ultimate dream job!

See also:

Monday, September 13, 2004

New DocBook Stylesheets (version 1.66.0)

DocBook expert Bob Stayton has just released a new version of the DocBook Stylesheets at: The .0 is a test release, so expect a 1.66.1 release soon...

Lots of bug fixes and new features in this one! Here are the release notes:

Release 1.66.0

  • A number of important bug fixes, documented in WhatsNew.

  • Now xml:base attributes that are generated by an XInclude processor are resolved for image files.

  • Rewrote olink templates to support several new features.

    • Extended full olink support to FO output.

    • Add support for xrefstyle attribute in olinks.

    • New parameters to support new olink features:, insert.olink.pdf.frag, olink.debug, olink.lang.fallback.sequence,, prefer.internal.olink. See the reference page for each parameter for more information.

  • Added index.on.type parameter for new type attribute introduced in DocBook 4.3 for indexterms and index. This allows you to create multiple indices containing different categories of entries. For users of 4.2 and earlier, you can use the new parameter index.on.role instead.

  • Added new section.autolabel.max.depth parameter to turn off section numbering below a certain depth. This permits you to number major section levels and leave minor section levels unnumbered.

  • Added attribute set to format the line separating footnotes in printed output.

  • Added parameter img.src.path as a prefix to HTML img src attributes. The prefix is added to whatever path is already generated by the stylesheet for each image file.

  • Added new attribute-sets,,, and, so each such element type can be formatted individually if needed.

  • Add component.label.includes.part.label parameter to add any part number to chapter, appendix and other component labels when the label.from.part parameter is nonzero. This permits you to distinguish multiple chapters with the same chapter number in cross references and the TOC.

  • Added chunk.separate.lots parameter for HTML output. This parameter lets you generate separate chunk files for each LOT (list of tables, list of figures, etc.).

  • Added several table features:

    • Added attribute set to add properties to the fo:table element.

    • Added placeholder templates named and to enable adding properties to any fo:table-cell or the cell's fo:block, respectively. These templates are a start for implementing table styles.

  • Added new attribute set for easy modifications of component's title formatting in FO output.

  • Added Saxon support for an encoding attribute on the textdata element. Added new parameter textdata.default.encoding which specifies encoding when encoding attribute on textdata is missing.

  • Template label.this.section now controls whole section label, not only sub-label which corresponds to particular label. Former behaviour was IMHO bug as it was not usable.

  • Formatting in titleabbrev for TOC and headers is preserved when there are no hotlink elements in the title. Formerly the title showed only the text of the title, no font changes or other markup.

  • Added template to set the initial-page-number property for page sequences in print output. Customizing this template lets you change when page numbering restarts. This is similar to the template that lets you change how the page number formatting changes in the output.

  • Added template to set the force-page-count property for page sequences in print output. This is similar to the template.

  • Sort language for localized index sorting in autoidx-ng.xsl is now taken from document lang, not from system environment.

  • Numbering and formatting of normal and ulink footnotes (if turned on) has been unified. Now ulink footnotes are mixed in with any other footnotes.

  • Added support for renderas attribute in section and sect1 et al. This permits you to render a given section title as if it were a different level.

  • Added support for label attribute in footnote to manually supply the footnote mark.

  • Added support for DocBook 4.3 corpcredit element.

  • Added support for a dbfo keep-together PI for formal objects (table, figure, example, equation, programlisting). That permits a formal object to be kept together if it is not already, or to be broken if it is very long and the default keep-together is not appropriate.

  • For graphics files, made file extension matching case insensitive, and updated the list of graphics extensions.

  • Allow calloutlist to have block content before the first callout

  • Added dbfo-need processing instruction to provide soft page breaks.

  • Added implementation of existing but unused default.image.width parameter for graphics.

  • Support DocBook NG tag inline element.

  • It appears that XEP now supports Unicode characters in bookmarks. There is no further need to strip accents from characters.

  • Make segmentedlist HTML markup more semantic and available to CSS styles.

  • Added user.preroot placeholder template to permit xsl-stylesheet and other PIs and comments to be output before the HTML root element.

  • Non-chunked legalnotice now gets an <a name="id"> element in HTML output so it can be referenced with xref or link.

  • In chunked HTML output, changed link rel="home" to rel="start", and link rel="previous" to rel="prev", per W3C HTML 4.01 spec.

  • Added several patches to htmlhelp from W. Borgert

See also:

Real Men Wear Kilts

My family and I attended the Longs Peak Scottish/Irish Highland Festival this weekend. I think it was one of the best we've ever been to!

We started on Thursday with the Tatoo (The word means: evening drum, bugle, or piper signal recalling soldiers to quarters. The earliest form of the word is from the Dutch "tap toe" which literally means to "close the tap" of the cask in the barrooms.). This spectacular event featured the King's Own Scottish Borderers Pipes and Drums, 78th Highlanders Pipes and Drums, 78th Highlanders Drill Team, Marine Band Twentynine Palms, Fort Carson Mounted Color Guard, cannons, HeadTalk-a drumline, and Dogs of the British Isles. Also quite moving was Isla St. Clair singing "When the Pipers Play".

On Friday, we went to the Field Day, taking in Scottish athletics (Caber toss, Sheaf toss, Stone throw), more bagpiping, shopping for Scottish items, and Scottish food. The weather was overcast and drizzling -- perfect Scottish weather. Then around noon, the sun broke out and warmed everything back up -- perfect Colorado weather!

My mom wanted to try Haggis, but changed her mind when she found out it was boiled. I passed as well... We bought the boys their own sets of armor to defend their "little princess" sister, and I got a Utilikilt!

my Utilikilt

I first found out about Utilikilts when Eliot Kimber wore one while presenting at Extreme Markup. The pockets are cool, and hold more than a Sporran. I got the Mocker version (seen here with Collin at the Estes parade)

Saturday we went to the parade. I usually march with Clan Cameron, but decided against it this year. I've got Cameron, Robertson, Baird, Sinclair, and Watchman clan blood, so it's hard to get kilts for all of them. Maybe I should get a kilt pin for each and pin it to the Utilikilt ;-) All of you Scots just winced, I know...

The festival is always the weekend after Labor Day in Estes Park, Colorado. Make plans to attend next year!

See also: ,

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Welcome to Topic Maps, Norm!

I'm very excited to see Norm Walsh's post about Topic Maps today!

I've been trying to get Topic Maps adopted in our Services organization for several years, but RDF/OWL seem to be the heavy hitters so far.

I think Topic Maps are extremely valuable, and offer a number of advantages over RDF. (see my previous post)And it's an ISO standard to boot! (ISO/IEC 13250). Now that Norm is experimenting with them, perhaps topic maps can get more traction at Sun.

Murray Altheim has also been a big proponent of topic maps, but ran into a lot of the same hurdles I have.

If anyone else at Sun has experimented with Topic Maps, or would like to learn more, please contact me!

See also:

Embedding SVG trees in DocBook

Jirka Kosek has written another spectacular article for entitled "Automated Tree Drawing: XSLT and SVG."

What's really cool, is that he's embedded the tree markup in a DocBook document, and then used a customization layer for the DocBook Stylesheets to render it!

Here's an example from the article:
SVG tree example

I think this would be extremely handy if you need to describe any kind of hierarchy. Hopefully, you are already using the industry standard DocBook or Simplified DocBook schemas for your computer hardware or software documentation...

See also:

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Shark Bytes in a Savage World

My friend Paul, of the famed "Games of James Bond" website and long-time colleague at Sun has been published again!

This time, Paul was the Editor for the first edition of Shark Bytes, a fanzine for the Savage Worlds role playing game system.Paul also created the James Bond conversion, Savage 007, based on the Savage Worlds system

Check out Shark Bytes #1 at:

Editing 60 pages for the first edition was a lot of work. Good job, Paul!

See also:

The Genesis Torpedo

Genesis capsule crashes in Dugway Proving Ground != Genesis device from Star Trek


Thankfully it's not the Genesis Device from Star Trek II and III or we'd all be protomatter...

The Genesis project gave new meaning to the name "Dugway Proving Ground" in Utah, as it "dug way" down into the Proving Ground after its two parachutes failed to open during re-entry today. The full report can be found at:

At $260 million, it is disappointing to be sure. Too bad the shuttle fleet is still down, or they could've inserted it into a retrieval orbit for one of the shuttles to grab, without risking the chute failure...

See also:

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

History of Star Trek

I've been a member of Bill Petro's mailing list since I worked with him at SunSoft in Colorado Springs. His history articles are always interesting and informative.

Today's post is the History Of Star Trek. Very interesting read.

In other news, Slashdot reported on a new Star Trek MMORPG today. Wonder how similar it will be to Star Wars Galaxies? I'd like to play, but I only do PS2 now. I couldn't keep financing the PC upgrades...

I started watching "The Day the Earth Stood Still" last night. That's got to be one of my favorite Sci-Fi's of all time. I can't wait for Destroy All Humans! to be released. The soundtrack is supposed to be similar to Bernard Herrmann's themes.

BTW, if you ever go to Disneyworld, make sure you eat at the Sci-Fi Diner in MGM, near Star Tours. I've been there twice now, and it's always a treat!

See also:

Bittersweet Summer's End

I'm blessed to have a few friends in high places. My friend Blaine had some extra tickets to the Colorado State University vs. University of Colorado, also known as the Rocky Mountain Showdown! He and I took our sons to the game (46 yardline!)

What a game! It started out as a blow-out, but the Rams hung in there and overcame a 17 point deficit in the 2nd half. Unfortunately, Holland's interception earlier in the game and being unable to stop Bobby Purify's runs really hurt us. It went all the way down to 8 seconds, 3rd and goal at the 1 yard line. Instead of spiking the ball and coming up with a plan, Holland took a gamble and tried a handoff to Houston, that failed. Still, we gave it the good old college try, and we really should have won that one. Details here.

Thankfully the weather held out this year. I got soaked at last year's Rocky Mountain Showdown, when my wife surprised me with tickets for my birthday. It was freezing!

Speaking of freezing, we had planned to go to Waterworld on Aug. 28, but a strong cold front came through, and dropped temps to 58 F. Thankfully we had good weather on Labor Day, so we took my son as a reward for learning to swim this summer. I've never officially learned how to swim (I only dog-paddle), and still regret. We had a blast, though my wife and I got pretty good sunburns.

All in all, a great weekend to end the summer, and the sunburn hurts worse than the Rams defeat!

See also:

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Sun and Colorado State University

Sun recently contributed to the Colorado Grid Computing Initiative at CSU. Sun provided two 6800s to create the initial node of a statewide grid computing system that will support the education of college students across Colorado in a variety of disciplines and allow universities to expand their interaction with K-12 schools.

Sun donated hardware and software to other Colorado schools and technology initiatives, but as a 2nd generation Ram, I had to brag about this one!More information should be available at: and

In addition to the hardware and software donated by Sun, we are also providing each grant project with complete installation, training and service support.

Hopefully we will see a lot more involvement and donations to my alma mater!

I am involved in the Online Mentoring Program with the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication.If there are any CSU TC students reading this blog, please contact me! I'm here to help.

BTW, Go RAMS! Beat the Buffs this weekend! :-)

See also:

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Mr. Spock was one of my favorite Sci-Fi characters growing up, but I've always held a special place in my heart for Scotty on Star Trek.

He was highly technical, and Scottish to boot! I always liked the episodes and scenes where he wears his kilt. ("Is There No Truth in Beauty?", "The Savage Curtain"). I also liked his crossover to Star Trek:The Next Generation in "Relics".

Today, James Doohan gets his star on the Hollywood Walk of Stars. Doohan will receive his star in front of the Hollywood Entertainment Museum at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard at 10:30 a.m. Congratulations, James!

Here are a few links featuring James "Scotty" Doohan:

See also:

Friday, August 27, 2004

Late again...

I've known Cam since 3rd grade, and I swear I continue to miss his birthday every year. Our birthdays are so close, and we have celebrated so many together, that I don't know why I continue to mess up the date. His birthday is on the 26th, but I always think it's on the 28th.

I would also have to echo my comments from an earlier post: a friend is "someone who knows all about you and likes you just same."

Cam has been the generous host of the Annual Talisman Tournament, which is a favorite time of year for all of my friends and I.

We also did a student film in high school, called "Star Wreck", which you can guess is a parody of Star Trek. I'll have to dig up some pictures from that one for a future post...

Cam and his wife just found out they are expecting, too! Congratulations! (hope you wanted me to tell the whole world)

Happy Birthday, my friend!

See also:

Ewoks and Droids on DVD!

Finally, some new Sci-Fi news. is reporting that the very popular Ewoks and Droids animated series will be coming to DVD in November! Just in time for Christmas, too...

I never really got into Ewoks that much, but I absolutely loved the Droids series. I faithfully watched every Saturday. We need a return of good Saturday 'toons.

I've been feeling much more nostalgic lately, because I've also been playing Midway Classic Treasures on PS2, including my favorite arcade games: Gauntlet, Road Blasters, Rampart, Rampage, Joust, and more. I just need Xevious, Zaxxon, Space Invaders, and Pacman to complete my favorite childhood gaming on PS2. I grew up on the Atari 2600, and Space Invaders was by far my favorite -- even my dad would play with me on that one.

The new Clone Wars animated shorts probably won't make it on DVD until next spring or summer, because there will be a new installment just prior to the release of Episode III. Then, they will all be combined and released on DVD.

September looks to be busy for Star Wars fans, as the Original Trilogy Collection and Star Wars: Battlefront will both be released on the 21st!

See also:

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Always Remember...

Truly touching. I'll never forget where I was when it happened... and who is responsible.

To all of our troops: Thank You! Stay safe, and Godspeed on your return.

See also:

Metadata: harmful or helpful?

After reading Richard's blog, and the accompanying article, I was asked by a colleague my opinion on metadata. Is it harmful or helpful?

I think it depends on your point of view. If you are for sharing information, making it easier to find information, and for freedom of information, then metadata is your friend. If you need to protect information, or are worried about legal entanglements, then exposing metadata may be considered harmful.

As a CYA mechanism, metadata takes no position -- meaning it can hurt you or help you depending on what you are trying to accomplish. Take the example from the CNET story, where Prime Minister Blair's documents contained metadata that contradicted the official position. That metadata was harmful to his position, but helpful to those against his position.

IMO, metadata is like truth.The truth will set you free. In the end, the truth will come out. Enter the rhetorical question: Are you on the side of the truth or not? If metadata exists, and you are doing what is right, it will help defend your position. If you are doing wrong, metadata will help expose you.

If we are ever going to achieve the lofty goals of the Semantic Web, those intelligent systems will need to have metadata in order to function, just as we humans need context around every situation to understand and act properly. Without the context, then you will get misinterpretation.

You should be able to determine what metadata you want to have published along with your content/resource. Perhaps that is where some of the tools fail, in that they blindly publish all of their metadata, when they should provide a choice or configuration of what you want exposed. Hopefully there is at least a common set that everyone would use as a base, such as the Dublin Core.

Choice is always good. If you choose not to expose metadata, then Semantic Agents will not be able to reliably work with your content, and maybe that's the choice you want to make. At least you have the freedom to choose.

See also:

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

My first chase vehicle

Here are a few pics of my first storm chase vehicle, and several important lessons learned:

I bought the '87 Chrysler Lebaron from my granddad when I graduated from CSU. I used it for a few storm chases in El Paso County before Sun moved me to Broomfield. It got me within 3 miles of a tornado at Ramah, which is the closest I've been to a tornado so far.

The important lessons learned came on a storm chase a year or two after my move to the Denver area.

  1. Get familiar with the local roads, and have a really good state atlas
  2. Stop chasing when the Sun sets, no matter how close you THINK you are
  3. Take a chase partner, so one person can look at the skies while the driver looks at the road
  4. If you don't watch the road, you may run into flash flood waters. Going faster won't keep your car from flooding any less
  5. Your wife won't appreciate you calling at 10:30pm saying you need a ride, because you are stuck 90 miles from home
  6. Storm chasers always help other storm chasers! But don't push your luck...

So those are my lessons learned, and here's the story:

There was a pretty good storm forming over Brighton after dinner, so I got clearance from my wife, and was off! I followed the storm right up Hwy 76 to about Hudson. It was a pretty major road, so I was pretty comfortable, but then I heard on the weather radio that it was getting severe near Pleasant Valley. I just happened to see the sign, and took the turn.

It was getting dark, but I was so close, I could taste it. It was kind of cool to watch the lightning and look for tornadoes between the lightning strikes. Unfortunately, the fields had taken all the water they could hold, and started spilling over the roadway, and I didn't notice until I plowed through it, just before entering the town of Pleasant Valley.

The Lebaron plowed through OK, since it was only about 5 inches of water, and I made it into town. I passed a Fire Engine that was directing traffic because of a power outage, and then my car promptly died at the side of the road.

This was a Very Good Thing, because if I had picked up the pace and kept going, I would have wound up in another flooded roadway, this time under 2 feet of water!

At this point, I called my wife with a Ham Radio/Phone patch, and told her I was stranded. She said, "Well, you better find a way to get here then, because the kids are in bed and I can't come get you."

Thankfully I found another storm chaser, who had stopped because of the flooded roadway, and found out he lived in Boulder. He was willing to drop me home, since it was on his way, and chat about chasing all the way home! He had a snorkle on his Toyota, and the first flash flood I had driven through had now turned into 3 feet of water. He plowed through to my amazement, and we headed home.

His vehicle had been struck by lightning a few weeks earlier, and he caught it on tape! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the link to the video...

The next day, my wife took me out to pick up my car. It was the quietest 90 minutes of my life...

Following that adventure, I agreed to take a chase partner, never chase at night, and get a vehicle that could handle it.

Stay tuned for my next post about my new chase vehicle!

See also: